There’s a universal truth in the nonprofit world: New donors are part of the fuel that propels your mission forward. They bring financial support and a fresh wave of energy and enthusiasm that can ignite your cause. In the digital era, where connections are just a click away, mastering your acquisition strategy has never been more crucial. Buckle up as we journey through five game-changing strategies that combine research-backed insights with real-world impact to help you forge lasting relationships.
Unleash the Power of Social Media
In a world where billions of people are connected through social media platforms, everyone is a potential supporter waiting to amplify your mission. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter aren’t just social networks—they’re your launchpads for creating a community of engaged advocates.
Research sponsored by Bloomerang shows a whopping 34% of nonprofits are tapping into the magic of social media for fundraising. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that today’s audience spends around 88% of their time on mobile-based apps instead of the web. That’s according to the folks over at Classy, who know a thing or two about philanthropy trends. Wanna delve into specifics? Among 522 nonprofits surveyed by Bloomerang, 52% named Facebook as the “most reliable” platform for helping them achieve their objectives. Followed by Instagram (22%), LinkedIn (15%) and Twitter (7%).
One thing to keep in mind? Consider your target audience. If the average age of donors in 2022 was 65—and if Facebook is the most popular social platform among that age group—it makes sense to target your efforts there. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying to recruit younger generations. Far from it! While they may lack the disposable income of their elders, they are passionate about social issues and avid consumers of social media. It’s just as smart to reach out to them, not only for donations, but to elevate your message through likes, shares and other powerful peer-to-peer interactions like volunteering and personal fundraising.
Simplify the Act of Giving
Imagine your potential donor, inspired by an email or social post and eager to contribute to your cause. But wait—there’s no easy way to donate! That’s why making sure your website is mobile optimized and equipped with embedded donor forms is so important. Making your website donor-compatible can boost your revenue by up to 29% per visitor. According to Blackbaud’s annual giving report, over 10% of nonprofit fundraising in 2021 occurred online, with more than a quarter of donations made via mobile.
Pro tip: be sure to offer a monthly giving option. Monthly donors tend to be more valuable than one-time donors, with monthly giving comprising more than a quarter of online nonprofit revenue in 2022. Check out this report by M&R Benchmarks for a breakdown.
Harness Peer-to-Peer Advocacy
Imagine your donors spreading the word about your cause to their friends, families and coworkers. That’s peer-to-peer fundraising in action—your supporters becoming your passionate advocates. And it’s more than just an idea: Donors commonly report being most receptive to fundraising requests from people they know.
More results from Classy’s survey of nonprofits (if it seems like we trust this report, it’s because Classy is a subsidiary of GoFundMe that helped nonprofits raise over $5 billion in 2022) showed a whopping 80% of people who contributed to peer-to-peer campaigns in 2022 were new supporters to the cause. Now that’s evidence of impact.
Foster Community Through Impactful Events
Imagine a room filled with your supporters, united by a shared passion for your cause. That’s the magic of events. But these gatherings aren’t just about networking and exchanging business cards; they’re about creating an experience that stays etched in the hearts of your attendees.
Research shows that 91% of attendees are more likely to take further action with a nonprofit after a positive event experience. And up to a third of them might even turn into fundraisers themselves, spreading your message far and wide.
And don’t overlook the power of timing. Think of dates like Giving Tuesday as “events” on your donor calendar. In 2023 for example, Giving Tuesday contributed a cool 3% of total nonprofit online revenue. And who could forget December 31st? That day—can’t remember why it’s a big deal—raked in 5% of annual revenue for nonprofits last year.
Integrate Channels for Amplified Impact
Your marketing channels are like pieces of a puzzle. When you put them together just right, the picture becomes complete and crystal clear.
Take digital ads, for instance: They can be one of your most effective tools for building a strong mailing list. In 2022, nonprofits spent around $3.41 for every new lead generated using digital ads. That may seem like a lot up front, but it’s worth it when you consider that those leads are subscribers you can target throughout the year with email, social media, direct mail, text message, events, peer-to-peer campaigns and more.
This may explain why nonprofit investment in digital ads increased by 28% last year, per this fantastically insightful digital marketing report (which we highly recommend nonprofits read even for its sheer entertainment value) by M&R Benchmarks.
The lesson? Invest in paid digital ads for direct fundraising (they’re great for that, too) and to build your subscriber list and reap the benefits.
So there you have it—five research-backed, road-tested acquisition strategies to attract new donors and create a flourishing community around your nonprofit. Remember, these aren’t just tactics; they’re invitations for supporters to become champions of your cause. So, go ahead and wield the power of social media, simplify giving, harness peer advocacy, foster connections through events and create a symphony of marketing channels. The journey might have twists and turns, but each donor you welcome on board is a milestone toward a brighter future.